Why is it so important for those of you who are religious to convert others?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Wormie2, Jan 16, 2002.

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  1. Wylding Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2000
    star 5
    Wylding: In what way is atheism a religion?

    Well Ender, aren't we defensive. My comment wasn't really directed to you, but was in answer to the question posited by the thread title. Nevertheless, I shall deign to answer your simple question.

    It--Athiesm--is a particular system of belief adhered to by many, a religion one could say, that colors and affects/effects worldviews just as Christianity or Kriya Yoga effect/affect a fundamental shift in worldviews once their precepts are accepted.

    Edit:"As for me, I like to argue. It helps me figure out what I believe and why. Even if the argument is deemed not necessary or moot by others.

    Hmmm, funny, you just answered your above question for me. That's basically the reason why I argue too. Are you allowed to and I'm not?


    Yes, but Ender, why argue about it if you don't believe? If you are confident in your athiest belief, any religious debate should be infinetly boring to you. However, my belief pre-supposes and places me in positions where I am directly challenged and/or complelled to argue. Whereas you (let's pretend you are a hardcore athiest) as an athiest can simply walk away from any argument you choose by uttering the simple words, "I don't believe in God." I don't have this luxury.


    "To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with the natural events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science, for this doctrine can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot."

    --Albert Einstein

    "The highest principles for our aspirations and judgements are given to us in the Jewish-Christian religious tradition."

    --Albert Einstein
  2. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    No, I'm not defensive. I'm just asking you to backup your claims.

    So you're saying a lack of belief in something is a religion? Or even a belief in something is a religion? So politics is a religion using your definition? Lack of beliefs in ghosts is a religion it would seem. You lack of belief in Ganesh is one as well.

    Say it with me, atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods. That's all, nothing else to athiesm.


    Where did you get your Einstein quotes? They don't seem to be any references as to where they came from and when he said them, and completely contradict what his beliefs were known to be. He was a Spinoza Panetheist.

    Not that appealing to authority proves your argument.


    "My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced
    that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral
    principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need
    the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis
    of reward and punishment. " - Letter to M. Berkowitz, October 25,
    1950; Einstein Archive 59-215


    "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious
    convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not
    believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have
    expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called
    religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the
    world so far as our science can reveal it." - Albert Einstein: The
    Human Side


    "I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that
    could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a
    magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly,
    and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This
    is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with
    mysticism." - 1954 or 1955; quoted in Dukas and Hoffman Albert
    Einstein the Human Side, p. 39


    The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.
    -Albert Einstein


    However, my belief pre-supposes and places me in positions where I am directly challenged and/or complelled to argue. Whereas you (let's pretend you are a hardcore athiest) as an athiest can simply walk away from any argument you choose by uttering the simple words, "I don't believe in God." I don't have this luxury.

    Forgive me if I don't like being called immoral or stubborn to the word of god. LOL, you could just walk away yourself confident in your beliefs.

    Man, you just don't get it do you?


  3. Wylding Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2000
    star 5
    So you're saying a lack of belief in something is a religion? Or even a belief in something is a religion? So politics is a religion using your definition? Lack of beliefs in ghosts is a religion it would seem. You lack of belief in Ganesh is one as well.

    Say it with me, atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods. That's all, nothing else to athiesm.


    Athiesm has a specific set of beliefs that come with it. It's main belief is that there is no such thing as a god or gods. A highly correlated belief is that evolution is correct and a law of nature rather than just a theory. It's adherents are all over the earth and many actively argue over their lack of belief as vehemently as the most ardant fundamental believer. Athiesism is indeed a religion. If religion is anything, it is a set of beliefs that effect a worldview. Is politics a religion? I would say to many people that it is a religion, in just the same way as Christianity or Atheism are religions. Your narrow definition of religion does not invalidate a more encompassing viewpoint.

    Where did you get your Einstein quotes?

    Go here


    He was a Spinoza Panetheist.

    How kind of you to categorize him.

    "The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion.
    Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science.
    Anyone to whom this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a state of fear is a dead man.
    To know that what is impenatrable for us really exists and manifests itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, whose gross forms alone are intelligible to our poor faculties - this knowledge, this feeling ... that is the core of the true religious sentiment.
    In this sense, and in this sense alone, I rank myself amoung profoundly religious men."

    --Albert Einstein

    Not that appealing to authority proves your argument.

    LOL! You were the one who started throwing around quotes.

    I shall now quote you. "Not that appealing to authority proves your argument."

    "Man, you just don't get it do you? "



  4. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    Athiesm has a specific set of beliefs that come with it. It's main belief is that there is no such thing as a god or gods. A highly correlated belief is that evolution is correct and a law of nature rather than just a theory. It's adherents are all over the earth and many actively argue over their lack of belief as vehemently as the most ardant fundamental believer.

    Sorry, nowhere in atheism does it say you have to believe evolution true. Most atheists do believe in it as it's our best explaination for the diversity of life on this planet.

    Many Republicans argue their political beliefs vehemently so that means that is a religion?

    You can't seem to grasp that having beliefs in something or not having beliefs in something doesn't constitute a religion as many things would be classed as a religion that aren't currently. Like politics for example.

    Can you answer this question? If somebody doesn't believe in ghosts does that make it a religion?


    Nice site but it doesn't give any references as to where and when Einstein made those comments. Unless I missed them? Seems to contradict my quotes as well?


    Edit: There are many Christian biologists on the Talk.Origins newsgroup who believe in evolution. I guess that makes them atheists?
  5. Wylding Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2000
    star 5
    Sorry, nowhere in atheism does it say you have to believe evolution true. Most atheists do believe in it as it's our best explaination for the diversity of life on this planet.

    Hmm, I set of beliefs that explains the origins of the world that goes along with being athiest? Sounds suspiciously like a religion to me. Wow, and from your keyboard!

    Many Republicans argue their political beliefs vehemently so that means that is a religion?

    I would say to some yes.

    You can't seem to grasp that having beliefs in something or not having beliefs in something doesn't constitute a religion as many things would be classed as a religion that aren't currently. Like politics for example.

    And you can't seem to grasp that having a belief or set of beliefs that fundamentally affect your worldview can be thought of as a religion. Athiesm is just as much a religion as Judaism.

    Can you answer this question? If somebody doesn't believe in ghosts does that make it a religion?

    Belief or non-belief in ghosts is not germain to the topic, nor is it really valid in that it doesn't fundamentally shift ones worldview, but I'll be imaginative. A belief that Ghosts don't exist would imply that this person doesn't believe in a soul, or that the phenomenon of Ghosts percieved of by humans is illusarary and perpitrated by demons seeking to mislead humans, or that the soul is asleep during death awaiting the return of Christ for resurrection. So yes, it could.

    I understand what you are trying to do. You can't scientifically prove a negative. Your trying to try to get me to prove a negative which isn't possible, but athiesm isn't a true negative. It comes with it's own set of beliefs. ie the ones already discussed.
    In this sense it is a religion.

    Nice site but it doesn't give any references as to where and when Einstein made those comments. Unless I missed them? Seems to contradict my quotes as well?

    What do I care? You're the one who started throwing around quotes. My point was that anyone can find any quote to support any theory. The fact that you asked about context means I got my point across; and maybe there's a little bit of hope left yet. Or maybe you think your opinion is the only valid opinion out there?

    Edit:

    Edit: There are many Christian biologists on the Talk.Origins newsgroup who believe in evolution. I guess that makes them atheists?

    LOL!

    Listen, it's been fun arguing, but I'm tired and am going to be now. Maybe we'll argue again sometime. You know, bounce ideas around. We aren't so different you and I. You know that right?
  6. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    So your lack of belief in Ganesh then is a religion too. Glad we agree. When do you guys meet?

    And like I said there are Christian biologists who think evolution is the best explaination for the diversity of species. But they're atheists to you, right?


    Let's see, what else would be a religion then by your definition?

    People who don't believe in the hollow earth theory! Religion!!


    What do I care? You're the one who started throwing around quotes. My point was that anyone can find any quote to support any theory. The fact that you asked about context means I got my point across; and maybe there's a little bit of hope left yet. Or maybe you think your opinion is the only valid opinion out there?

    My quotes have a references as to where they came from as they are recorded from the man himself.


    Listen, it's been fun arguing, but I'm tired and am going to be now. Maybe we'll argue again sometime. You know, bounce ideas around. We aren't so different you and I. You know that right?

    No, probably not. I'm just a human trying to make sense of this thing we call life just like you are. I just don't find Christianity to be my path so to speak.

    Take care!

    Edit2: I don't positively assert there are no god(s). I doubt there is a god. This is a difference.

  7. Wylding Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2000
    star 5
    So your lack of belief in Ganesh then is a religion too. Glad we agree. When do you guys meet?

    No, my lack of belief is because of my religion in much the same way your lack of belief is because of your religion--athiesm.

    And like I said there are Christian biologists who think evolution is the best explaination for the diversity of species. But they're atheists to you, right?

    LOL, just because someone is ecclectic doesn't mean they aren't Christian.


    Let's see, what else would be a religion then by your definition?

    People who don't believe in the hollow earth theory! Religion!!


    Hey, don't get frustrated. Just accept that athiesm is a valid religion just like any other.


    My quotes have a references as to where they came from as they are recorded from the man himself.

    Sigh. I'll quote you again: "Not that appealing to authority proves your argument."

    Edit: Now I'm really going to bed. Night night.
  8. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    No, my lack of belief is because of my religion in much the same way your lack of belief is because of your religion--athiesm.

    So beliefs and lack of beliefs make a religion, eh? We'll have to make a new definition for religion then.


    LOL, just because someone is ecclectic doesn't mean they aren't Christian.


    Huh? I'm not sure what you are saying here. You seem to imply that part of the atheist dogma is believing in evolution so why then do Christians buy into it? They're practising atheism aren't they?

    Hey, don't get frustrated. Just accept that athiesm is a valid religion just like any other.

    Hey, don't get frustrated trying to redefine what religion means. Just accept that atheism isn't a religion.

    Sigh. I'll quote you again: "Not that appealing to authority proves your argument."


    Uh, the Einstein quotes have nothing to do with my argument that atheism isn't a religion?
  9. Ooh_Aah_Cantona Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 13, 2000
    star 6
    Religion should not be forced upon others. It is a personal choice and peole believe when they want to. Those of you who have said you preach to your family so they can go to heaven. Do you believe that if they lead a good life and work for the good of others yet are not christians, they are condemed to hell? What kind of a God would that be.

    I'm agnostic. i was born a hindu and went to a Church of England (Protestant christian) school from the age of 5. I have a genentics degree for a while I became an aetheist. When you study religion and science logically you can easily come to the conclusion that God doesn't exsist. But then I've come across things that makes me think that their is a higher being. 60 years ago we didn't know of DNA and we thought it was impossible to split an atom. Now we know better. Whose to say years down the line we don't discover something new. But I disgress, I don't believe in religion. It is used as aform to control people and make them have moral values. Nothing else. Look at the history of all religions. They are embroiled in politcs and were only there to control the masses. Look at how christianity spread from Europe. A long way away from what the bible teaches, let me tell you.

    Muslims also try to actively convert people. They are taught that if you convert a non muslim to a muslim you are guaranteed a place in heaven.

    I prefer to lead my life by having a big heart and treating people well and with respect, regardless of who they are. Will I go to hell if it exists because I don't pray or be penitent even though I go out of my way to help others for no other reason than I want to help and make a difference.

  10. tenorjedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2000
    star 5
    So I can convert you, and make you one of my many wives that support me while I stay home and play video games and drink beer. Why else would I convert someone?

    Actually when someone finds something that makes them happy, usually they want others to know that happiness, and to agree with them. On a smaller scale people do it all the time with more trivial things. For instance the mission of Mac users to convince the world that their machines are superior. Or those PS2 fans that want to destroy the evil X-Box and have their gaming machine reign supreme. On a larger scale people do it with politcal philosophy as well. It's definetly not a religious traight, it's a human one.
  11. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    I was gonna say something, but I notice tenorjedi said it for me in the previous post.
  12. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    Ooh_ah_cantona: Small world. I was also born Hindu, became atheist for a while, and balanced out somewhere in the middle as an agnostic.

    There's not much I could say that wasn't already said by you in terms of the overall reasons why blatant proselytization makes no sense.

    I can understand people who want to share their discoveries, but why they don't even, if only for self-reassurance, question why their institutions' demands that we satify god's ego (as if he has one) is beyond me. Belief in God, even Jesus had tried to suggest, is a personal and direct relationship... and so many times have I heard people come to my father's house asking us "Have you developed a personal relationship with God?" My response to that would be, "Yes I have... so why do I need you as my middleman? Thank you, drive through."

    Live and let live. Those who are interested enough to know more about my religion will ask... and I'll gladly share with them what I know and let them form their own opinions. But I see extremists from a variety of religions (though Christianity always seems to be the recurring predominant one for some peculiar reason...) that psychologically torment people into accepting their "savior" under duress.

    Isn't it false love if you come to that belief only through fear of the alternative? What the hell kind of God, indeed as Ooh_ah_Cantona supposed, would first create us, then let us be enticed into "sin", then torment us for the sin he allowed to happen under his very nose (I thought he was omnipotent), then ask us to repent for eternity or else we'll burn in Hell (a place that is ruled by the angel who basically was punished because he asked questions.)? If there was a Christ, I think he'd probably laugh hysterically at that supremely paradoxical interpretation of his benevolent intentions. Of course, that's just my opinion... and one of the major reasons why I can't take door-to-door proselytizers seriously.

    The other reason I can't take them seriously is because of my childhood experience: My father is an incredibly well-read individual. Whenever proselytizers came to our house to try to "open our eyes", it was like a spectator sport watching him unravel their poorly-founded arguments with his massive store of historical, theological, philosophical and scientific knowledge. By the time they left, they were so exhausted trying to rationalize what even they didn't understand anymore, that they'd look at their watches (I swear this really happened, repeatedly) and say, "Um, it's been really wonderful, but we really have to get going now." As they'd leave, they'd give each other puzzled looks, like they weren't sure what they believed in or why.

    Wow, such confidence in their dogma.
  13. Darth Geist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    JediGaladriel, I'm sorry you've had to deal with the Boston Church of Christ (aka the International Church of Christ, aka the Disciples of Jesus, aka many other names they change routinely to avoid recognition). I've had dealings with them myself, and while many of their members are perfectly nice people, their officers run the organization as a textbook cult, only Christian in name.
  14. Ooh_Aah_Cantona Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 13, 2000
    star 6
    Hey Darth_Snowdog! :)

    LOL, my dad does the same. He reads philosphy in his spare time.
  15. tenorjedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2000
    star 5
    Ender what he's getting at is that Atheism is a belief system; pertaining specifically to religious beliefs. It's broken down further just as monotheisim is as there are different beliefs within the subcategory of Atheisim. The mere fact that it's not organized does not change anything. Many atheist mock religious people for their beliefs as a way to prove their belief system to be right, or they will use some scientific theory to try and convince a religious person that God does not exist. This is an attempt to convert someone to their religious belief. Even if that belief is that religion is stupid.
  16. cydonia Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 5
    It's probably safe to say that the people who are 100% sure of their beliefs, are happy 24/7 because of them, are not to be found in religious debate threads.
  17. DarthNuttiest Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2001
    The reason that we feel the need to is because our religon demands it. If I do not witness to you, and I had the chance to, and you stay non-believing then by my beliefs you go to hell. I'm not trying to say you will though.

    If I had the chance to try and save you from eternal damnation, but I didn't, then your blood would be on my hands.

    My religon demands it, that's why. And if we don't spread it, it will die.

    DarthPerfectlySane,
    The Sanest person in the nearby vicinity.
  18. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Why? Why would God let something like that die, if indeed it is the truth?

    Contradictory.

    Let people come to you, not the other way around.
  19. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    DarthNuttiest, you're assuming that I'll be "lost" without you because your religion says so... but only in scripture. I'm assuming Jesus hasn't shown up on your doorstep to tell you this in person. I'm also assuming you haven't actually realized yet that, incidentally, all the other major religious scriptures have laid equal claim and presented equally valid "evidence" to support their claim of being the path to God, too.

    Furthermore, are you saying that if you don't assist the giant marketing machine of the multibillion-dollar church empire that Christianity will vanish? So, in that sense, your version of Christianity is a bit like Britney Spears. Both would vanish without massive marketing and advertising... and the underlying reason for this is what? Because they have no ability to gain interest on their own merits?

    So, let me see if I understand this clearly. Essentially what you're saying, DarthNuttiest, is that... marketing flair aside, Christianity (of the proselytizing variety, anyway) is about as full of substance as Britney Spears?

    Thanks for clearing that up. Jesus would be proud. We all know how much he loved salespeople. :D

    The more people have to sell their religion to me, the more their religion loses its credibility. I'll stick with being a pantheistic/agnostic/Hindu... thanks... why?

    Well, it goes back to that idea that the religion would "die" without "spreading the word".

    Could someone please explain to me how Hinduism, a religion that doesn't endorse proselytization, doesn't have an objective of conversion, and teaches acceptance and tolerance of all peoples, all faiths, manages to have lasted around 7000 years and is the world's third largest religion (# of adherents) exceeded in popularity only by two proselytizing faiths... at least one of which is the wealthiest, most powerful marketing conglomerate in the world?

    EDIT: Maybe the answer to that question has something to do with a belief system's merit coming from its substance, not its flair.
  20. Aragorn_Strider Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 14, 2002
    star 1
    It really bothers me when someone tries to tell me I'm wrong and or I'm going to hell because of my religious beliefs, and that their religious beliefs are correct. I don't think my religious beliefs are any less flawed or more realistic than anyone else, its faith, just let people believe what they want and don't force anything upon them.

    Maybe next time a person comes to my door trying to convert me I will try to convince them that Star Wars is the greatest saga ever, and if they don't believe that then they are a moron.
  21. cydonia Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 5
    I think people want to feel they are part of something larger than themselves, and somehow they are the truly "special" people. I think alot of it is the proselytizing helps to reinforce their own feelings of being special, not so much that they want others to become special too. I'm not saying that's a bad thing either, it's just human nature.
  22. Coolguy4522 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2000
    star 4
    I think this must be one of the fastest growing threads in the Senate. I guess calling religion dangerous has that effect on people. I have seen many liberals call printed opposition to womens rights issues "dangerous". This goes against our most basic tenates of our freedom of speach.

    I think that atheism is a kind of religion. We can go into semantics all we want, but basicly it comes down to the fact that athiesm is competing with religion. I think a good example would be the Sierra Club and logging companies. You can make the argument that the Sierra Club is not a company, but it acts like one. It's methods of rasing money and the purposes for that money may be different, but it is in the same race. When I say that athiesm is a religion, I think it as a group that is trying to spread it's ideas just as the religion is. Perhaps you may have different means of changing people's minds, the end result is the same.
  23. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    I haven't read every post on here, so I hope I'm not repeating anything, but I'm going to throw out my $.02 on this topic.

    I'm a Christian, and I consider myself a religious person. I go to church every Sunday, read the Bible every night, and pray without ceasing. However, I have not always been a Christian--I was raised as a Christian, then I turned my back on the religion of my childhood because I became disgruntled with it. I then experimented with Zen Buddhism, Dianic Wiccanism, and atheism (which by the way, is just as valid a religion as any other). I returned to the religion of my childhood because I felt the presence of God in my life, not because anyone converted me. If anyone had tried to convert me when I was not practicing Christianity, I would have been driven further from church, not towards it. For that reason, I don't try to convert other people; I try to live my life the way I think God asks us to live, and if I am asked about my faith, I will share it--but I don't go around trying to convert to Christianity anyone who is obviously not open to it.

    In answer to the thread topic, though--some denominations of Christianity take very seriously the admonition of the apostle Matthew, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you." (Matthew 28: 19-20) My father was raised Southern Baptist; this verse was strongly emphasized in the church where he grew up.
  24. PadmeSkywalker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2000
    star 4
    This might sound like a crude comparison but nobody likes salespeople on the phone or at the door. If they ask you if you're interested in their product and you say 'no' you don't want them to keep on going 'are you sure? But look, it's so great!'. Same thing with proselitizing, ask once but don't harangue or insist.

    I once was an exchange student and lived with a host family who were Jehova's Witnesses. (Nothing against Jehova's witnesses) They tried every single trick they could to try to convert me, it was positively horrible, they would not take no for an answer. It was absolutely intolerable. Granted, most people would not have to live in that situation but I don't think most people would like to go to their workplace/schoolplace and have people try to convert them every single day.
  25. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    I think that atheism is a kind of religion. We can go into semantics all we want, but basicly it comes down to the fact that athiesm is competing with religion. I think a good example would be the Sierra Club and logging companies. You can make the argument that the Sierra Club is not a company, but it acts like one. It's methods of rasing money and the purposes for that money may be different, but it is in the same race. When I say that athiesm is a religion, I think it as a group that is trying to spread it's ideas just as the religion is. Perhaps you may have different means of changing people's minds, the end result is the same.

    Politics is a religion then. I'm not sure where you've seen door-to-door atheists? What are atheist ideas besides a lack of belief in a god(s)?

    Science isn't "atheism" as you would be practising atheism everytime you posted.

    I think everyone should believe what they want to. But if you condemn me for not believing in what you do you better have excellent evidence to prove to me why you condemn me.
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